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AF biomarkers could aid screening

Monday January 7th, 2019

Two biomarkers can be used to identify atrial fibrillation in high risk patients, British researchers report today.

The biomarkers work when used to test patients who are male, obese and over the age of 60, according to a Birmingham University study.

The developers say that the biomarkers could be used by GP practices to help select patients for ECG screening.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, come from an analysis of 40 common cardiovascular biomarkers in 638 hospital patients.

The two biomarkers that proved effective at identifying atrial fibrillation were the commonly-used marker, brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), together with a new one – fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23).

Researcher Yanish Purmah said: "The biomarkers we have identified have the potential to be used in a blood test in community settings such as in GP practices to simplify patient selection for ECG screening."

Fellow researcher Dr Larissa Fabritz said: "The research outcomes were surprising. While BNP is already a known and widely used in clinical practice biomarker, the results around the effectiveness of the FGF-23 biomarker was an unexpected and new finding.

“FGF-23 is only currently used in a research based environment, but we have shown how its use could be invaluable in a clinical setting."

Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: "This research has used sophisticated statistical and machine learning methods to analyse patient data and provides encouraging evidence that a combination of easy-to-measure indices may be used to predict atrial fibrillation.”

Chua et al. Data-driven discovery and validation of circulating blood-based biomarkers associated with prevalent atrial fibrillation. European Heart Journal 7 January 2019; doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehy815

http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehy815

Tags: Heart Health | UK News

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